Should reject UNCLOS before its model spreads to other commons including outer space and the internet
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It is important to consider as part of the debate over U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty whether that action would have implications for other so-called “international commons” such as Antarctica, the moon, Outer Space more generally and the Internet.
In fact, the logic of LOST – with its supranational order for the control of a medium used by more than one country – will inevitably be seized upon by America’s foes to demand similar arrangements be instituted for Outer Space or even the Internet. And U.S. ratification of LOST will make it difficult for the United States to argue against accepting binding arrangements for other “international commons.” It was for this reason that President Reagan’s Ambassador to the UN, the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, warned the Senate in 2004 not to consent to ratification of LOST, in part on the grounds that America’s interests in Outer Space could be adversely affected by the LOST precedent.
UNCLOS could set a bad regulatory precedent for the commercial development of space. Subjecting private space exploration and development to a similar regulatory system would discourage private ventures just now getting underway.